What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is a technique that originated as part of traditional Chinese medicine. It operates under the principle that the body has over 2,000 acupuncture points—specific points through which qi (the body’s energy, pronounced “chee”) can flow. These acupuncture points are activated by applying thin needles. Traditional Chinese meridians (channels for energy flow) and acupuncture points line up with what Western medicine understands as centers of stimulation for nerves and muscles.
What to Expect
When you set up an acupuncture appointment, first and foremost, the acupuncturist will go over the process and your own health history and concerns. Needles are then applied to strategic points on the body, perhaps but not necessarily near the pain site. Acupuncture needles are hair-thin, and depending on their placement, some people do not even feel them. Your professional acupuncturist may apply gentle electrical pulses or heat to the needles or twirl them. Needles remain in place for ten to twenty minutes while the patient relaxes. Removing the needles does not usually cause discomfort. After an acupuncture treatment, you may feel invigorated or relaxed. The exact reaction is dependent on the patient and the focal area of the treatment.
The frequency of treatments is determined on an individual basis. Remember that it is important to allow enough appointments to really determine if the process is working for your body.
How Does it Work?
The driving motivation behind acupuncture is to galvanize the body’s natural healing mechanisms. Traditionally, it is expected to do so by unblocking obstructions to the body’s qi, allowing that energy to flow properly. Western medicine frames the process as stimulating the central nervous system. As each needle is applied, chemical reactions are triggered in the muscles as well as the spinal cord and brain. This can incite an analgesic (painkilling) effect as well as natural healing processes.
The scope of conditions and kind of pain (both chronic and acute) that can be treated with acupuncture is vast. These are just a few:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Chronic pain
- Dental pain following surgery
- Headaches and migraines
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Labor pain
- Low back pain
- Menstrual cramps
- Myofascial pain
- Nausea (especially after surgical anesthesia or chemotherapy)
- Neck pain
- Stress-induced tension
- Tennis elbow
Is Acupuncture Safe?
Acupuncture has been a source of relief for thousands of years. When performed properly, the process can release pain and leave a patient feeling restful or revitalized. If performed by a trained professional, inserting and removing acupuncture needles should not cause a patient pain. Treatments in a professional environment also limit the risk of infection as needles are sterilized according to FDA regulations.
Acupuncture is not recommended for those who take blood thinners or have bleeding disorders. If you have a pacemaker, be sure to let your acupuncturist know as electro-acupuncture is probably not right for you. Be wise when leaving an acupuncture session. If you are too relaxed after treatment for driving to be wise, get a ride or leave time to rest before you drive home.
Acupuncture and Chiropractic
Both acupuncture and chiropractic care serve to restore the body’s natural ability to heal itself and optimize functionality. Acupuncture does so by stimulating centers of energy (whether that energy is called qi or electrical impulses). Using acupuncture and chiropractic care together ensures a holistic duality of non-invasive, chemically-safe treatments to get you back on track. Here at Rock Creek Spine & Rehabilitation Center, we are dedicated to helping you feel like the best version of yourself. Contact us today in Broomfield, CO to learn how acupuncture and chiropractic care may be the right fit for you.